How Cambridge's Polaroid Changed The Way We Think About Photos, Patents

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Back in the 1940s, when the first Polaroid camera first hit stores, it was revolutionary — sort of like the iPhone or the digital camera of its age.

It was created by Edwin Land, a lifelong inventor and larger than life scientist, he changed the way we think about photography. In his teens, he invented the anti-glare plastic polarizer, which is still used today in sunglasses and LCD screens. Later, he developed x-ray film, 3-D movies and early versions of military night vision.

He also launched a long legal battle between Polaroid and Kodak that changed the way we think about patents.

Ron Fierstein will discuss "A Triumph of Genius" Feb. 24 at the MIT Museum.


Ron Fierstein, patent lawyer who worked with Edwin Land. He's author of the new book, "A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War."


The Boston Globe: How Polaroid Created A World Of Need-It-Now Shutterbugs

  • "Land, a consummate showman, was working his magic. He then took a self-portrait, which was widely featured in newspapers and magazines, including a full-page 'Picture of the Week' in Life. And as photographers milled around snapping him and his camera, Land took pictures of them, immediately showing off the results. 'Now, let me see your work,' he teased."

This segment aired on February 16, 2015.


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